Exploring Venice’s Historic Heritage

Exploring Venice’s Historic Heritage

Photo above courtesy of Venice Florida Tours

What better way to start the new year than learning about the rich history of the Venice area. With all the activities and programs sponsored by Venice’s three local historical organizations—Venice Museum & Archives, Venice Area Historical Society, and Venice Heritage, Inc.—it is easy to immerse yourself in the city’s historical journey.

Take a guided, docent-led walking tour or pick up a self-guided tour map of historic downtown Venice, created in partnership with Venice Heritage, Inc., Venice Museum & Archives, and Venice MainStreet. They are available at the information kiosk in Centennial Park Mondays to Saturdays 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m; at the Venice MainStreet office downtown at 101 W. Venice Ave., Suite 23; and at the Venice Museum & Archives. So make a resolution today to explore our historic district and read the stories that bring our city’s history to life. You might discover something new!

Venice Museum & Archives
Venice Museum & Archives, housed in a 1927 building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, maintains a collection of more than 30,000 photographs, archives, objects, and publications pertaining to the area’s history. The museum engages visitors with permanent and changing exhibits; admission is free. Now through July 29, 2020, the museum is displaying a new exhibit—Playing in Paradise: The History of Venice Sports. The museum is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and first and third Saturdays now through April from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. VeniceMuseum.org

Architectural Walking Tours
Walking tours of the city, led by Architectural Historian Sebastian Liseo, are being offered by the Venice Museum & Archives on Tuesdays (Venezia Park Walking Tour) and Thursdays (Grand Homes Walking Tour) from January through mid-April 2020. 24 hour advance registration is required via email vmuseum@venicegov.com or (941) 486-2487. Tickets $20. More information at VeniceMuseum.org.

Downtown Walking Tours
Guided walking tours, including haunted history tours, are available through Venice Florida Tours. Reservations can be made at Facebook.com/VeniceFloridaTours, 817-793-8433.

Venice Area Historical Society
Venice Area Historical Society offers free tours of the Historic Venice Train Depot on Saturdays year-round from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and seasonally, now through April, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It also sponsors a lecture series, which is free and open to the public. This year’s theme is “Women Get the Vote.” Go to veniceareahistoricalsociety.org for the program schedule.

Venice Heritage, Inc.
Venice Heritage, Inc. is offering trolley tours of historic Venice on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at veniceheritage.org. The group also is showing free monthly movies about Venice’s history at the William H. Jervey, Jr. Venice Public Library. The next one—Reflections: A History of Sarasota County—is slated for Friday, January 17, 2020 at 2 p.m. in the library’s community room.

Braves on Miami Ave.: Mardi Gras Style, February 8

Braves on Miami Ave.: Mardi Gras Style, February 8

Dust off your baseball caps and join the block party on Miami Avenue in downtown Venice on Saturday, February 8, 2020 from 5 to 10 p.m. to kick off the beginning of spring training in Mardi Gras style. Hosted by Venice MainStreet in partnership with the Atlanta Braves Spring Training Organization, the evening will be filled with fun activities for the whole family.

Enjoy kids activities, a 50/50 raffle, food trucks from The Maine Menu, Shaky Dogs, Dirty Dogs Mini Donuts, Kona Ice and Budweiser beer. Mardi Gras merchandise will be available for purchase, so get those beads! The Grammy award winning Rebirth Brass Band, a New Orleans institution, will transport attendees to the streets of the French Quarter, with its combination of traditional instrumentation with funk, hip-hop, soul, and other modern elements. The band takes the stage at 6pm and its high energy will be sure to have everyone dancing in the streets. Mike Burnett and the Suns of Circumstance perform at 8pm.

Braves legends Rafael Furcal and Andruw Jones will be in attendance for a meet and greet from 5pm-8pm. Rafael is a three-time N.L. All-Star, including in 2003 while with the Braves, and has appeared in 59 career postseason games, and won the 2011 World Series with St. Louis. A career .281 (1817-for-6477) batter in 14 majors league seasons with Atlanta, Los Angeles (NL), St. Louis and Miami, he hit 113 home runs and stole 314 bases in 1,614 games. Rafael was a career .227 batter in the playoffs and was named the 2000 N.L. Rookie of the Year, after he batted .295/.394/.382 with 40 stolen bases and 87 runs in 131 games for Atlanta. Furcal owns the Atlanta franchise record (since 1966) with 189 stolen bases, and ranks second in triples (38) and seventh in runs (554).

Andruw Jones was signed by the Braves as an amateur free agent in 1993, Jones spent 14 years in the Atlanta organization, including 12 at the major league level. Jones spent time with five different Major League organizations and played two years with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japan Pacific League during his 21-year playing career (1994-2014.) A career .254 hitter in the majors, he totaled 434 home runs and 1,289 RBI in 2,196 games. He hit a franchise-record 51 home runs in 2005. Now Andruw is a special assistant to baseball operations, instructing and assisting minor-league outfielders during regular and spring seasons, and assists with major league workouts during the spring.

Michael Dunn, Vice President of Florida Operations for the Atlanta Braves, shared, “We are thrilled to be invited by Venice MainStreet to help celebrate the start of Atlanta Braves Spring Training. Atlanta Brave legend Andruw Jones and others will be on hand to help kick off the season!”

Proceeds from this event go to two local nonprofit organizations: Venice Challenger Baseball and Venice MainStreet. Admission is $5 and kids under 12 are free. Parking is within comfortable walking distance. Don’t miss out on this wonderful community event. For more information, go to visitvenicefl.org or contact Venice MainStreet at 941-484-6722.
Purchase tickets: HERE 

Gazebo Starlight Cinema 2020 (Free Movies in the Park!)

Gazebo Starlight Cinema 2020 (Free Movies in the Park!)

Sponsored by Venice Institute for Performing Arts (VIPA) in partnership with Venice MainStreet

Bring your favorite lawn chair and enjoy FREE movies on the first Friday of each month! Movies start at sunset in Centennial Park. Shop local and support Venice businesses and restaurants by buying your movie snacks, dinner, ice cream or gelato downtown.

January 3-   Percy Jackson and the Olympians
February 7-   X-Men
March 6-   The Sand Lot

Dates with movie titles TBA:
April 3
May 1
June 5
July 3
August 7
September 4
October 2
November 6
December 4

Check back often for more movie titles posted throughout the year or follow our events on Facebook click here.

Friday Night Concert Series 2020

Friday Night Concert Series 2020

Venice MainStreet sponsors free concerts at the gazebo in Centennial Park. At 7pm twice a month on 2nd and 4th Fridays, bring your favorite lawn chair and enjoy live music outdoors in beautiful historic downtown Venice!

January 10- Josh Reilly Trio
January 24- Johnny Rawls
February 14 – Patchouli and Terra Guitarra
February 28 – Wendy Barmore
March 13 – Matthew Mayes and Forrest Shafer
March 27 – Patchouli and Terra Guitarra
April 10 – Skylark
April 24- Robin and The Retros
May 22- Blues to Blackstreet Duo
June 12- Soundwave
June 26- Mindy Simmons
July 10- Friends and Company Band
July 24- The Alie Kats

Check back again for more bands later in the year or follow our events on Facebook click here.

A Successful Year for MainStreet and Great Things to Come

A Successful Year for MainStreet and Great Things to Come

By Kara Morgan, Venice MainStreet CEO

What an incredible year! Venice MainStreet, a nonprofit 501(C)3 organization, works to make Venice better for everyone, an effort that would not be possible without your commitment and partnership. Thank you to the individuals, companies, and organizations who gave to our community this year. Thank you for caring, believing, and being a part of this amazing network of people and progress.

Our priority has always been to establish meaningful relationships in the community. All year long we welcomed new businesses, new residents, and new visitors to Venice. We achieved exciting milestones including growing to over 400 partners and welcoming over 100,000 people to 37 MainStreet events.

Most visibly, we created a public art mural on Celebration Corner at Nassau Street and Venice Avenue. We collaborated with the Venice Institute of Performing Arts for the family-friendly Gazebo Starlight Cinema program, which will continue in 2020.

For 2020, we are excited to continue to bring 24 concerts to the Centennial Park Gazebo, 5 downtown art and craft festivals, along with our Wine Walks, Oktoberfest, Christmas in July, Barstool Open, Venice Beach Party and Christmas Walk, among other fun community events. From the board of directors, staff, and volunteers of Venice MainStreet, Inc. we wish you a Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year!

Welcome Butterfly Family Chiropractic

Welcome Butterfly Family Chiropractic

Venice MainStreet is excited to introduce one of our new partners, Butterfly Family Chiropractic. As a teenager, after being involved in a car accident, Joe Indelicato visited a chiropractor. He left the office pain-free and with a new career ambition. He wanted to be a Chiropractor! “It worked wonders for me and I developed a passion for natural healing,” Dr. Indelicato said. “So, I wanted to continue with that passion and use it to help others.” Dr. Indelicato and his wife, Elyse, recently brought their 30-plus year practice to Venice with the opening of Butterfly Family Chiropractic Center in April.

After graduating from New York Chiropractic in 1984 and opening his practice that same year, Dr. Indelicato moved to Florida in 2014 and opened the practice in Nokomis. The new location in Venice, which is on East Venice Ave and includes a parking lot behind the office, was attractive to the Indelicatos because of the neighborhood’s town feel. “Venice has such a great vibe and sense of community. We just love it!” says Elyse, who has run the business operations of the practice since it first opened.

Dr. Indelicato utilizes Activator technique, which he describes as an extremely gentle and specific approach to treating pain. Additional services include applied kinesiology, therapy, nutrition and exercise. During his career, Dr. Indelicato has treated children, families, athletes in high school, college and the pros. He now hopes to help the residents of Venice just as his chiropractor once helped him. Dr Joe says “It’s important to treat every patient as an individual. Each patient presents with different needs and health history, hence each requires their own customized treatment, wellness plan and protocol.”

Butterfly Family Chiropractic is located at 645 East Venice Ave., 941 484-0008.

COLAB Fostering a Collaborative Community

COLAB Fostering a Collaborative Community

Opening its doors just a few weeks ago in Venice, the COLAB coworking space is ushering in a new era of opportunities for individuals trying to start a new business, freelancers, remote workers, and other independent professionals. Conveniently located on Miami Avenue, COLAB is a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs, providing a spectrum of communication services—web development, social marketing, photography, business cards, logos, signs, and other business literature—as well as a sleek, professional coworking space with state of the art technology.

Andre Carrero of the Venice Sign Shop, creator of the COLAB space along with Ken Wagner of Shine Media, says “we want to be the Mercedes-Benz of the communication world for entrepreneurs. Many new entrepreneurs can’t afford infrastructure start-up costs, but with COLAB they can look like a Fortune 500 company without the headaches and high costs.” It is hard for Carrero—a challenge-seeker by nature—to contain his enthusiasm and energy when describing his vision for COLAB. Looking to tap into the growing creative, artistic community in the Venice area and the changing demographics in Southwest Florida, he is passionate about “bringing collaboration to communities and seeks to nurture a new generation of entrepreneurs, hoping to be a part of their success stories.”

COLAB offers a variety of membership options to meet your business needs as well as a host of networking opportunities to grow your network. Among the many perks, members can receive 24 hour key access to the coworking space, private parking, a downtown Venice mailing address, placement in COLAB’s website directory, and access to freshly brewed coffee and cold drinks all day long. For more information or to view their spaces, contact COLAB, 250 Miami Avenue West, at 941-786-1596 or visit colabvenice.com. The office is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

The Beautification of Historic Downtown Venice is Complete!

The Beautification of Historic Downtown Venice is Complete!

The beautification of historic downtown Venice is complete. The roads are paved and open. The sidewalks are wide and inviting. New trees, potted plants and hanging flower baskets adorn the avenues adding charm and a pop of color.

Venice MainStreet, Inc. is lucky to have a home in the 100 block of West Venice Avenue and the staff has the pleasure to be a part of historic downtown interacting with visitors. The month of June has been a wonderful rejuvenation and we have seen an increase in foot traffic. This past weekend, June 15 and 16, the craft festival and farmers market saw an increase in attendance of 30%, stated by Lee Perron with the Venice Farmers Market. Venice MainStreet CEO, Kara Morgan, encourages everyone to come and see the improvements and spend the day in Venice. “There is something for everyone here; varieties of restaurants, stores and services,” said Morgan. “There is also the opportunity to spend time outdoors with family and children in Centennial Park, the Intergenerational Children’s Fountain and of course our brand new interactive art mural on the corner of Nassau St and W Venice Ave.”

City Engineer Kathleen Weeden added, “We want to thank the voters who passed the road bond referendum in 2016, as well as the Florida Department of Transportation and the state Legislature, which provided funds along with the 1-cent sales tax to complete this important project. This combined funding effort allowed us to do major improvements. We worked hard to keep the charm of downtown while rehabilitating the infrastructure so it will last for decades. Come see this beautiful gem!”

The City of Venice is celebrating all of the accomplishments of the beautification on July 8th at 11am with a short ceremony in Centennial Park, followed by a ribbon cutting on West Venice Avenue to officially present the downtown improvements to the citizens and visitors of the city. The City of Venice welcomes the public to be a part of the celebration. We can’t wait to see you in Venice!

Greetings from New CEO, Kara Morgan

Greetings from New CEO, Kara Morgan

Dear Friends,

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I extend this greeting to you and recognized the privilege I have been given to serve as the Chief Executive Officer of Venice MainStreet. MainStreet is proud to have served our community since 1987, and has rapidly met the growing needs of the community through high quality marketing, special projects, and preservation efforts. It has become a leader in the State of Florida Main Street Districts. For these reasons, and my passion for Venice as a resident for four years, I am thrilled to be joining this team.

The work done by Venice MainStreet, its partners, and friends has impact. As we get to know one another, I will demonstrate that the work we now share is not only professional, but also personal. Preservation and beautification of historic downtown Venice are critical to the character and vitality of this area. These assets, which lie at the heart of our mission are critical tools for remaining a destination, place of business, and home.  

As part of our commitment to our community, and with the help and support of our staff, board of directors and volunteers, we continue to expand our services, receive numerous accolades and recognitions. Although Venice MainStreet appreciates these awards, we are most honored and grateful for the opportunity to serve the community.

Our focus now is to continue to distinguish historic downtown Venice as a leader in the MainStreet community. We’re committed to continuously search for new ways to improve our quality and make Venice the best place for visitors, residents, and business owners to live, work and play. On behalf of your Venice MainStreet staff, I extend our sincere thanks for all your support. This is a proud day for me and I look forward to learning from all of you and working alongside you.


Kara Morgan
Chief Executive Officer
Venice MainStreet, Inc.